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Patients Are Ditching Opioid Pills for Weed

Saturday, February 11, 2017 1:13
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(Before It's News)

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by
The
Atlantic

James Feeney, a surgeon in Connecticut, heard it from his
patients. A few actually turned down his prescription for
oxycodone, the popular opioid painkiller that has also gained
notoriety with the opioid epidemic. His patients, Feeney recalls,
would say, “Listen, don’t give me any of that oxycodone garbage. …
I’m just going to smoke weed.”

“And you know what?” says Feeney. “Every single one of those
patients doesn’t have a lot of pain, and they do pretty well.”

Marijuana has worked well enough, anecdotally at least, that
Feeney is following his patients’ lead and conducting a trial at
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT. The
state-funded study will compare opioids and medical marijuana for
treating acute pain, such as that from a broken rib.

That distinction—acute pain from an injury—is also an important
one. A small body of evidence suggests that medical marijuana is
effective for chronic pain, which persists even after an injury
should have healed and for which opioids are already not a great
treatment. But now Feeney wants to try medical marijuana for acute
pain, where opioids have long been a go-to drug.

“The big focus from my standpoint is that this is an attempt to
end the opioid epidemic,” he says. Overdoses from opioids, which
includes heroin as well as prescription painkillers like oxycodone
and morphine, killed more than 30,000 people in 2015.

Marijuana might have a bigger role in curbing this drug abuse
than previously thought. Its potential uses are actually threefold:
to treat chronic pain, to treat acute pain, and to alleviate the
cravings from opioid withdrawal. And it has the advantages of being
much less dangerous and addictive than opioids.

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